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Begging in Dublin

Antibes, France
Level Contributor
12,714 posts
Begging in Dublin

On a recent trip to Dublin I was astounded by the number of street beggars. I realise begging is not confined to Dublin but this phenomenon seems to be increasing here to third world levels. And not confined to the poorer inner city.

In the suburb where I was staying each newsagent, ATM, and convenience store had a beggar with a plastic cup sitting beside it. The beggars did not all appear to be Irish, from features or accents.

While feeing sorry for the pathetic figures huddled in cold wind and rain and passing over a few euro cents there remained at the back of my mind the old advice re beggars: (a) They probably make more money than you do (b) they are well looked after by social welfare (c) they will only spend it on drink/drugs anyway.

I would be obliged if any readers can confirm what the case is with the Dublin beggars especially (b) as I believe Irish benefits are among the best in Europe ? Are tourists just being psychologically intimidated or is there real need here?

Ed

Cavan
Level Contributor
4,542 posts
75 reviews
60 helpful votes
1. Re: Begging in Dublin

Not unique to Dublin, beggars are common to many European cities. I remember when it was mostly older down and outs that were begging on English streets but now it is younger drop-outs begging and sleeping rough.

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
5,248 posts
10 reviews
44 helpful votes
2. Re: Begging in Dublin

These might be better sites to get some feedback on that topic.

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=474

http://www.politics.ie/dublin/18317-begging-dublin-city.html

There has always been plenty of people begging. It's not a new phenomenon.

I recall seeing quite a few in Boston.

My only warning to tourists is to be very careful at the luas stops when paying for your ticket as the local "druggies" will jump to your aid and then expect a few coppers in their paper cups. If you need to buy a ticket cross over the line to the machine that has less people queuing to buy tickets and you'll avoid the harassment. This works well at the Abbey St Stop and Heuston Stop!

Dublin
Level Contributor
3,033 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
3. Re: Begging in Dublin

A lot of beggars are part of organised gangs who are "professional beggars" in a sense. As long as people keep giving them money in the false belief that they're helping out, the beggars will keep plying their trade.

Tralee, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Tralee
Level Contributor
4,497 posts
75 reviews
63 helpful votes
4. Re: Begging in Dublin

To answer your specific questions. Yes tourists especially are intimidated, as are visitors generally. As a visitor to Dublin, I have experienced the approach at the Luas. The advice given by ALL support groups for the less well off is not to give money to those begging. While your points a) and c) are debatable, the welfare system is in place to provide a safety net for those most in need. 'The poor will always be with us,' according to the Bible. With the expansion of the European Union, there has been an influx of Roma gypsies to Ireland and other countries. I have dealings with support groups for Roma in different countries. Begging is acceptable in their culture but unfortunately causes a lot of problems in others and leads to sterotyping and discrimination. The issue of public begging is a complex social issue and a worldwide phenomenon. We who are fortunate enough to have the finances and freedom to travel, should always take time to learn about the cultures of the world. We also have many options of donating to relieve the distress of our neighbours at home or abroad. Here endeth todays lesson!

Eire
Level Contributor
654 posts
5. Re: Begging in Dublin

Its becoming rampant on the streets of Limerick recently. A mix of nationals and non-nationals. I thought there was a law passed in the last few months that now makes it illegal to beg? Or am I wrong?

Dublin
Level Contributor
3,033 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
6. Re: Begging in Dublin

It was illegal based on an ancient law but a court ruling a couple of years back effectively overturned that law and I'm not sure if a new one was introduced yet.

pme
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
230 posts
13 reviews
53 helpful votes
7. Re: Begging in Dublin

up until lately begging was a criminal offence but the law prohibiting it was recently declared unconsitutional by the high court!!! this appears to have given beggars the green light.

ireland
Level Contributor
6,266 posts
9 reviews
27 helpful votes
8. Re: Begging in Dublin

there are beggers in every city in every country - its not exclusive to Dublin or Ireland. I also have seen many of them in downtown boston. It is also not just people from other countries, but irish people also.

Also, the social welfare services are not as "great" as people think it is. There are a lot of people now trying to make ends meet with another cut in childrens allowance, christmas bonus, old age pensioners all up for the chop on December 5. People are losing their jobs and houses at an alarming rate. You never know, next time you walk into town and see "begger" it could be one of your friends or neighbours. I wouldn't be uppity about it - especially with the mess this country is in now.

Tralee, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Tralee
Level Contributor
4,497 posts
75 reviews
63 helpful votes
9. Re: Begging in Dublin

I'm not sure if I am one of those 'uppity' ones but it is a fact that all groups working in the area of social diadvantage actively discourage giving handouts to beggars on the street. I take your point that we don't know what may happen to ourselves, friends or neighbours but Barnardos, Vincent de Paul etc will make better use of any spare funds we might have.

Dublin
Destination Expert
for Valletta
Level Contributor
10,417 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: Begging in Dublin

I will give you a simple example last Wednesday a van pulled up Across the road from the Square Shopping Centre not unusual but out pops 9 Rumanians all women and kids first they have tea and sandwiches and are then given their cups they all didperce to all parts of Tallaght you have 5 banks or building societies and some go into the Square to rob the security men spend half the day putting them out as it is no use having them arrested as the do not speak English and want an interperter and the rest spend all day begging they are then picked up at night and hand all the money and goods over to the head of the family or else they get beaten. So what do you do have the Australian solution in Ireland our welfare system ensures that you have a house and beds etc and are given money every week and they all know this that is part of the problum we now face as the jobs dry up and more people go on welfare you get more begging and more crime so do we send them all back to where they came from when we were glad to have them when they all had jobs you decide.

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